Science in Africa with TReND, AuthorAID and a few connections

Just over a year and a few months ago I moved to a small town in the northern provinces of Mozambique to support my wife in her work in community development and water and sanitation. I went with a willingness to help out where I could, but with no real background in development, what was there to do for a research scientist in rural Africa?

African animals on a research paper (can you make out the title?)
African animals on a research paper (can you make out the title?)

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#ScienceAfrica Unconference 2014 – reaching the whole spectrum of society

It was with great pleasure that I ‘virtually’ attended the second Planet Earth Institute #ScienceAfrica Unconference on the 18th November. From following on Twitter it seemed like an excellent day with good discussions and presentations. Since last year’s Unconference I have moved to Mozambique. In 9 months I have seen extreme rural areas and big cities and experienced the lives of Mozambicans that live there. It is with this experience that I came to the second Unconference – with thoughts on some of the unique challenges that a campaign like #ScienceAfrica faces.
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How to (not) do science writing

This is a repost of an interesting and humorous post from Green Tea and Velociraptors – Jon Tennant gives some pointers on good science writing for both specialist and non-specialist audiences. Bare in mind the sarcastic tone!

via Spice up your science with these 10 simple steps.
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Planet Earth Institute #scienceafrica UnConference

In case you wanted to find out a bit more about the Africa’s Scientific Independence conference, the Planet Earth Institute made a Prezi of points and pictures from the day (I’m even in one of the photos!). Catch it on the prezi website.

Watch this space for further articles on science/science communication/science education in the developing world. The Planet Earth Institute invited me to write a piece on these topics which will be posted on their website later this week.

Note (added in 2020) The Planet Earth Institute has closed due to allegations against the CEO and board members. I was only invited to write a blog for them in the early days. I stand by what I wrote, but obvious disown the corrupt actions of the leadership of which I (and I imagine many of the staff I communicated with by email or at the Unconferences) was not aware.

What do I want to achieve with this blog and why?

One my ambitions for this blog is to communicate topics linked to my PhD in accessible language. I want it to make sense to my mum, my wife’s mum and the general interested adult (although my mum did proof read my thesis 3 times so she probably already has a good idea and I am indebted to her proofreading skills!). I will publish a series of posts covering all aspects of my research – from the background of the background, to the nitty-gritty of research, to the conclusions and predictions I made in the final chapter. I have four main motivations in this:
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